For the past week I have been "not working" of course not working when you run your own business from home is actually rather tricky. There have been emails to reply to, parcels to pack, and a fibre club shipment to send out. What I haven't been doing is making any new stock, instead I've been making for me.
In reality I might have overdone it slightly... turns out that having all day to spin and knit is not actually a good thing. My elbow is crunching, and my shoulder feels a tad odd so having a rest today is very much a good thing!
However, when I look back at the week I appear to have got rather a lot done!
My Little Black dress, made from handspun Gotland/Black Welsh Mountain and hand dyed silk now has a front, and looks like it will actually fit!
A grand plan for a woven skirt made from some gradient batts I bought from someone else now has a warp. I know this looks like a really odd collection of colours, but there's all sorts hiddden underneath and it will all go together, honest!
There's been a Camden Cap knitted in one of the wool free blends (Camel, Seacell, Faux Cashmere), because it has lots of bounce and is perfect for hats. Of course I guessed at the size, and it turns out it's too small for the manekin heads, so will need reknitting, but it's a lovely pattern and quick to knit so I don't really mind. The wool free blends were dyed before the holidays, I plan on photographing and listing them on Thursday.
And there's also this...
I know, it loooks like a very odd bobbin, but it's my entry in to the 2015 longest thread competition. Last year over Christmas I decided to conquer spinning silk, so wanted another challenge for this year. I am being ultra-ahead of the game, but this is not the sort of spinning I want to do under time pressure, and this way if it all goes horribly wronng I have plenty of time to have another go!
How skinny is it...
Certainly not likely to break any records (1000m+ from 10g of fibre), but for a first attempt on a non-ideal wheel it's not bad. If anyone else feels up for the challenge the Ravlery group full of helpful advice is here, and the actual competition details are here. So far I'm halfway through the spinning, there's around 6-7g on that bobbin, just the same amount of singles to go, then some very nerve wracking playing!
Our dogs get fed on a raw meat diet rather than processed biscuits or tinned meat, and part of that diet is a regular intake of proper bones. We get them from the local butchers, and usually they come in rather large pieces, so the dogs don't get fat (again!) Dad chops them in to snack size portions for after their walk.
On Thursday Mum and I went in to town to get the Christmas shop done, and this time the butcher handed over 3 turkey carcasses... these turkey's must have weighed nearly 40kg, they were as big as our dogs!
The chickens like bone chopping day, anyone who would like to think of their chickens as grain eating birds needs to look away now, as fights will break out at the chance of some juicy chunks of protein! They might be eating bits of their close cousin, but it's rather hard to stop them scavenging the scraps and fragments...
First comes the anticipation... how they know what's about to happen is a mystery, but they always appear even before the first bone is chopped!
Then if you happen to disappear for a minute they'll happily help themselves!
Dad has to be careful as the silly birds do sometimes try to do this just as he brings the axe down...
Then afterwards comes the cleaning up.
Then comes a little siesta in the workshop to do some digesting.
These 2 are of course the little chicks of 6 months ago, now all grown up. Froome in particular is the most magnificent bird, he'd bigger than Boyo, and has a much deeper crow, I suspect it won't be long until he's boss of the gang of ladies.
Cav is absent in all these pictures, fear not, she is still with us, but has grown in to the flightiest, scardiest chicken. She's bullied un-mercilessly by the other chickens so usually spends her time hiding out under the caravan, and comes out when they've all gone to do the last bit of tidying up. She also now has her own private bedroom, not that she goes in to it... I've become an expert at spotting her in the twilight and climbing trees to retrieve her! She does however love to be cuddled and eat from your hand so her life isn't all bad!
Today is my last official day of work, parcels will be going out on Monday as usual, but not on Thursday as that's Boxing Day. I'll still be answering messages, just no new stuff for a little while, though the new wool free blends are dyed up ready for photographs in the new year.
This is part 2 of a post from yesterday... that was chewed in half once I hit publish. I think the website software is as worn out as I am!
Woof, today I would like to tell you about sticks, yesterday I told you about playing with my pink squeaky bone, but when I'm out on walks in the forest with my Katie she lets me play with sticks. Sticks are great fun, they go crunch and snap when I chew on them.
Sometimes I like to carry the stick by myself, but other times I decide to make a human help me.
Eventually though I am stronger than the weak human and pull the stick out of their hands and run off. I think this is very clever of me.
Sometimes though the humans tease me, they hold the stick up very high, but really it's a chance to show off what a good jumper I am.
I can jump very very high, and the humans keep telling me I'm middle aged and should calm down, I think this is rubbish, I'm still a fit young thing.
Sometimes we find a huge stick. These sticks are the bestest sticks. I would play with one all day, but the humans won't help me carry it home. They is very mean. My daughter Meg doesn't understand the importance of sticks, or squeaky toys. She only likes balls, I think this is very narrow mnded of her, balls are fun, but so are many other things to play with. At times I wonder how such a stupid dog can be my daughter, she's even scared of aeroplanes, which is very silly of her.
The humans keep telling me that in a week's time it will be Christmas. I like Christmas as my Mummy doesn't sew, and my Katie doesn't do stuff with wool, and my Nicky comes home from university and we get to go on all the good walks.
Eventually I will have something else to talk about, but for now bear with me, things are busy round here and there's little else going on but sleeping, carding and eating.
Luckily I have friends who are kindly doing things that I can blog about!
This is one of the new luxury wool free blends, a mix of 65% Silk, 35% Kid Mohair.
Spun up it turns in to a very grown up subtle kind of colourway, greeny gold, with hints of turning leaf.
And here's the clever bit...
You can turn it in to your own version of a Brushed Mohair yarn. It's not quite as fluffy as most of the commercial yarns, as they have a far hgher mohair content, but it has a lovely delicate feel, and just enough fuzz, but not so much that you'll lose all the stitch definition.
You can however leave it as a smooth sleak shiny yarn, and knit something with drape that's more silk like, but with slightly more body than pure silk.
The pattern is Darling, Darling, Stay with me, and is great for handspun, a few customers have now knitted it and every version looks lovely.
The new blends should be heading in to the shop just after the New Year.
It's been a while since I did one of these posts and I've completely forgotten where I was up to the numbering...
I freely admit that my fibres are at the more luxury end of the purchasing scale, and justifiably so, I put a lot of time in to them, and feel I deserve to pay myself fairly for that time. When I was working I would have had a hard tme justifying buysing enough hand dyed fibre to make myself an entire jumper. However, this rather yummy pattern gets round that dilemma.
Combine some handspun with a commercial yarn and you can make a beautiful sweater- Whiteleaf
This has just been published in the Winter edition of Knitty, and she spun the yoke yarn on a Hiltop Cloud spindle!
In fact, I'm sat here having a little smug proud moment as Mirella, the clever designer, only learned to spin in June using one of my Learn to Spin Kits.
She's got lots of other very yummy patterns, lots of them will work wonderfully with handspun.I know Katharine has already knitted her very own version of the Anima Hat using some Bond fleece and some oddments of other colours.